Beirut’s Interdesign building was conceived by Lebanese architect Khalil Khoury for his family’s furniture business in 1975. It is a brutalist structure completed towards the end of the modernist movement in Lebanon. While the building’s fair-faced concrete exterior and staggered monolithic volumes contrast starkly with its balcony-rich neighborhood in Hamra, its scale is absolutely appropriate. Its beautiful split-level circulation, with each plan containing three floor-slabs at 1 meter apart in height, allows the customer to observe the furniture at different eye-levels. The building is significant as one of Khalil Khoury’s most innovative sculptural structures. Its external appearance is a direct result of its vertically shifting floor plates.
The building never got the launch it deserves, as it was completed the same year the Civil War began in Lebanon. Today, 26 years after the end of the war, the Interdesign company went bankrupt, and the building ended up in the hands of Fransabank. The bank is currently retrofitting its Hamra branch within the building, with no monitoring on the changes it is imposing on its interior. We hope that one day, the Interdesign building will get the recognition it deserves and will hosts a program that truly benefits of its interior.